Novo Nordisk, Flagship Enter Deal For Cardiometabolic, Rare Disorder Treatments

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Flagship Pioneering has partnered with Novo Nordisk to build a portfolio of potential treatments for cardiometabolic and rare diseases.

The deal leverages Flagship's bio-platform entities, currently made up of 41 companies, to conduct research and development projects on the said disease types. This rather uncommon pairing banks on both companies' multiple presences in various fields to create a new line of therapies.

Novo Nordisk's Bio-Innovation Hub is a cross-functional research and development team within the Massachusetts-based firm that focuses on co-created breakthrough treatment concepts and technologies. The Bio Hub and recently-acquired Dicerna Therapeutics are just two of four transformational research units within the Novo Nordisk R&D group. Novo Nordisk took over Dicerna in November 2021 for $38.25 per share in cash, or around $3.3 billion.

Meanwhile, Pioneering Medicines is a project within the Flagship Pioneering umbrella that aims to create and develop life-changing therapies by taking advantage of Flagship's technologies. The company has released over $2.9 billion in capital towards the growth and advancement of its 41 companies, including Axcella Therapeutics, Codiak BioSciences, Denali Therapeutics, Moderna, Rubius Therapeutics, Sigilon Therapeutics and more.

"This strategic partnership demonstrates the unique advantages of our Pioneering Medicines model in which we bring together complementary capabilities and expertise from multiple companies to deliver life-changing medicines to patients," Paul Biondi, the president of Pioneering Medicines and executive partner of Flagship Pioneering, said in a statement. "We enter into this collaboration with Novo Nordisk with a shared vision of creating transformational medicines in disease areas where there continue to be significant needs." 

Novo Nordisk will take care of funding for initiated research projects and will have an exclusive option to license each one for their new collaboration. The objective is to start three of five research programs within the first three years of their partnership.

"We are excited about this new agreement which will give Novo Nordisk access to Flagships' large and diverse portfolio of companies, representing a wide variety of novel cutting-edge technologies and therapeutic modalities," Marcus Schindler, Ph.D., executive vice president and chief scientific officer of Novo Nordisk, noted in the same announcement.

Novo Nordisk has continuously built its portfolio on top of this latest deal. Most of the projects in its portfolio involve potential treatments for diabetes, hormone-linked illnesses and serious chronic diseases like obesity and rare blood and endocrine disorders. 

In late March 2022, the company got approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for its 2 mg dose of Ozempic (semaglutide) injection to help regulate blood sugar levels in adults with type 2 diabetes. The drug is also intended to reduce the risk for major cardiovascular events, including stroke, heart attack or death.

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